Tuesday, March 15, 2011

David Deese

Dan Jones, David Deese, Rob Marshall, Doug Hutchens in Owensboro Kentucky June 2011
Photo courtesy of Rob Marshall

David Deese and Tater Tate

David, always being the thoughtful one with flowers for Tater's wife who could not attend that afternoon.

April 16, 2007 Tater Tate Appreciation Day

Bristol, Tennessee

April 16, 2007

Randy Franks, Blake Williams, David Deese, Wayne Lewis, Tom Ewing

David Deese

"From the Red Smiley 'Top of the Morning' Days circa 1965"

This past Sunday March 13th, 2011 I lost a great friend.

David was the closest thing I ever had to a brother when it came to music. I watched him when I was a teenager on the Arthur Smith TV show and also later when he took Don Reno's place with Red Smiley on "Top of the Morning" each morning on WDBJ TV in Roanoke Virginia.

It was a Don Reno's Funeral in October 1984 that our friendship grew. As the final prayer was prayed and most folks began to leave the cemetary the grave was filled. When the final shovel of sod was placed, there was 4 people left standing at the head of the grave. John Palmer, Carlton Haney, David Deese and myself. We all knew each other from the music business. Later when John passed Carlton, David and myself were there. Now David has joined Don and John and Carlton is suffering from a stroke. (Sadly Carlton passed at 2:15 on the day of David's funeral March 16, 2011)

When James Monroe asked me to put together a reunion of Bill Monroe's band members David was always there. We traveled to Rosine time after time to Honor the Memory of Bill.

Once after visiting the legendary fiddler Gordon Terry, and seeing he was not in good health, on the way home David looked over at me while driving along and said "Buddy I want to make sure that one thing is straight between you and me. If for some reason I don't wake up tomorrow morning, I want you to know that you're my friend." and that's the words we parted with each visit with from that time on.

We gave each other our flowers while we were living.

I am going to miss him.

David was a life long musician. He and his father Tom played in his early years, they traveled many times to Richmond to the New Dominion Barn Dance and it was on these trips where he met Bill Monroe and Red Smiley.
Barely out of high school he became the banjo player for the "Arthur Smith Show" based out of Charlotte NC. Later he went to Nashville to take a job with Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper only to find the were out of town when he got there and a chance meeting with Frank Buchanan let to David becoming a Blue Grass Boy with Bill Monroe.
When Don Reno and Red Smiley parted company Red chose David to fill the banjo position and he kept that spot until he was drafted and pulled a tour in Vietnam.
Upon returning to the states David worked with George Wynn near Richmond for a while, but when the group was planning a USO tour and Vietnam was on the tour, David and Fred Duff switched bands as he had no interest to return there. He later joined the Jones Brothers for over 20 years and later with the Briar Hoppers. In the early 1990's he and Betty Fisher joined forces in the Betty Fisher-David Deese and Dixie Bluegrass for a period. He did numerous recordings with friends and Pat Ahrens is working on a book about his life and times.

I am going to miss him so much.

1 comment:

  1. Doug thanks for such kind words of David. I think David is going to be missed by all types from all different walks of life. He was a good man and I am going to miss him very much. He was not just my mentor but he was my friend and a man that I looked up to and thought very highly of.